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Detroiters Rally For Higher Minimum Wage

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SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) – Participants in a rally at Detroit’s Eastern Market on Wednesday want to see an increase in the minimum wage.

The rally, held in response to a campaign launched by the Koch brothers to end minimum wage for all workers, was held outside the Russell Street Deli, where employees are paid $10 an hour following a probationary period.

Minimum wage is currently $7.40 an hour.

Co-owner Jason Murphy told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Pat Sweeting he hasn’t forgotten the challenges of trying to survive on minimum wage.

“It is extremely difficult to make ends meet,” Murphy said.  “It can be difficult to figure out a way to pay your cell phone bill. People with families, it’s difficult to figure out how to put enough food on the table.”

Murphy said that those working in restaurants often struggle. “A lot of people working in the food industry — in particular, servers — tipped employees, are female.”

He said such a woman, who is the head of her household, may find it almost impossible to make ends meet on minimum wage.

Oakland County Commissioner Dave Woodward of Royal Oak agrees that something must be done.

He has lent his voice to express concern for the problems and challenges that come with trying to survive on minimum wage.

“Minimum wage is equivalent to starvation wages,”  Woodward said.  “I believe that if you work full-time you shouldn’t live in poverty.  I think that’s an American value.”

Woodward also said that nobody should be living in poverty on minimum wage if they are able to work full-time — 40 hours a week — and if they don’t take sick time or vacations.

The annual income for someone working 40 hours a week on $7.40 is $15,392.

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